Join us for an eight week Journaling Club hosted by EDCI volunteer, Emma Clanin. Emma will be creating weekly journaling prompts to help us to explore our thoughts and feeling regarding topics on body image, eating behaviors and self-worth.

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Welcome to EDCI’s eight-week journaling club! We’re glad that you’re here and excited to bring this opportunity to “show up” for yourself in this way. Journaling provides a way to be present and mindful with yourself, acknowledge and celebrate progress, and release thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve you. In this club, there will be one prompt per week that is released every Wednesday for eight weeks. You will focus on self-discovery and healing relationships with food and the body. Before you begin, we want you to feel prepared. Listed below are a few tips to help you be successful on this journey!

 

  • You will need a notebook or journal to write in. It does not have to be anything fancy! What you write in it makes the journal meaningful and special in and of itself.

 

  • Schedule a time each week where you will have access to a quiet, undisturbed, comfortable space where you can take your time (Does not have to be the same every time!).

 

  • Date all entries to stay organized and to refer back to.

 

  • Be self-compassionate! If you’re not the best writer or have never done this before, that’s okay! This is for you, so no one must see it or correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. 

 

  • There is no required length. You can write as little or as much as you want. Focus on your needs.

 

  • Your decision to share your journal is yours. Keeping your entries to yourself is okay. Sharing with others can be cathartic and help you connect with others who have had similar experiences, even helping others in the process.

 

  • Moving forward, if you feel the urge to write outside of this club, do not hesitate! We encourage you to lean into this process.

 

  • If you end up not liking journaling right away, before giving up, switch things up a bit. For example, find a different time of day to write or write about what’s on your mind instead of following the prompt. Journaling will take time to get used to and if the weekly prompt doesn’t meet your needs, write in a way that does.


 

Now that you’re ready to begin, here’s the first prompt!

Week 1

Setting Intentions

You’re invited to set intentions for yourself. Ask yourself, “What would I like to get out of journaling? How do I plan to use this journaling club? How will journaling serve me?”


 

Examples:

  • I would like to be more introspective with my thoughts and my actions around food

  • I’m going to use journaling as a form of consistency in my life

  • Journaling will aid me in my relationship with myself

 

After creating your intention(s), ask yourself, “How can I prepare myself for this process?”

 

Examples:

  • I’m going to give myself the space and permission to release my thoughts and feelings into each prompt

  • I’m going to tell my family and friends about this club so they’re aware and supportive of my plans

  • I’m going to commit to myself by “showing up” for each prompt


 

With any new intentions that you make, remember that change is not always linear. You may experience ups and downs so understand that this is natural. Give yourself grace and know that as you move through this club, you’re naturally moving towards change.

Week 2

Breaking Up

Hello there! We’re so glad you’re here for Week Two!

Last week, you reflected on what you would like to get out of this club; maybe you want to use journaling to develop more consistency in your life or form a more compassionate relationship with yourself. Whatever your goal(s) may be, there is likely some obstacle keeping you from reaching them, such as an eating disorder or detrimental self-talk. Before you begin journaling today, take some time to think about what’s holding you back because this week, you’ll be “breaking up” with your ED or body image/food troubles through a goodbye letter. This letter is a way to honor yourself by releasing any thoughts, actions, or behaviors that are not serving you so you can move forward. You might be thinking that this sounds like a lot of work and somewhat daunting; this is valid! Writing this letter is challenging and YOU CAN DO CHALLENGING THINGS. To give you some guidance, here are some tips:

Prompt: Write a goodbye letter to your eating disorder or to your unhelpful beliefs about food/your body.

*Before you begin, make sure you’re in a space where you won’t be rushed or suddenly interrupted

  • Let yourself feel: There might be emotions that come up. Allow yourself to feel ALL of them because this is a necessary step in moving forward. In a sense, it’s a funeral for parts of yourself or actions that you no longer want to pour energy into. Transfer these feelings into your writing. For instance, if you’re mad about what your ED has taken away from you, write about that frustration.

  • Be honest: Where do you find yourself right now, and where do you want to go/what do you want? What have your ED/beliefs taken away from you?

  • Be patient: There’s no pressure regarding the length or content of your letter. This letter is to help YOU, so tell your story and let out what feels necessary.

  • Do not edit: Polishing takes away the purpose of writing what comes to mind. It doesn’t need to be perfect because it’s meant for your eyes (BUT, feel free to share it if you want).

  • Please be sure to utilize your treatment or support team should you need to further process any thoughts or feelings that come up from journaling.

Week 3

Brain Dump

You made it to week 3! Please take a moment to thank yourself for showing up because that takes dedication and courage. We’re so glad to have you here again and hope you’re ready to take on this week’s journal prompt. Last week, you said goodbye to your eating disorder, negative thoughts and views of your body, and insecurities with food. You dared to recognize and acknowledge actions, thoughts, and behaviors that were no longer serving you through a written letter. The purpose of this was to make a conscious decision to label your enemy and commit to fighting back. You did this by honoring and releasing parts of yourself, so you feel ready to move forward. Know that this was a HUGE and important step in moving towards a healthier relationship with yourself, so be proud! This was not an easy task, and we know that even though you might have said goodbye, relapses may have occurred since the last prompt. THAT’S OKAY. Saying goodbye does not mean you can expect your actions, thoughts, and behaviors to change immediately. However, you’ve already done the work of committing yourself to change, which means you know you have the power to continually say, “Goodbye,” and give yourself permission to move forward from now on.

 

This week, you’ll be introduced to a coping skill that will help you identify negative thoughts, behaviors, and actions so you can start to make actual changes. I call this “THE BRAIN DUMP”. When we feel negative emotions, like sadness, anger, and stress, it can be hard to process them mentally. Often, instead of taking the time to identify our real needs and unpack our emotions, we take them out on ourselves through self-detrimental talk, restriction, or over-exercising. The brain dump is a tool to label and express your emotions in an attempt to prevent rumination and unhelpful behaviors. It gives you a chance to process emotions instead of pushing them away, learn your actual needs, and potentially put situations and emotions into perspective. By now, you’re probably eager to get started! Today, you‘ll be learning how to do this so you can add it to your toolbox for future use.

 

Prompt: Take a moment to think about how you’re currently feeling. Maybe you’re feeling stressed, sad, or angry. Maybe you’re not. Either feeling is okay. Now, write everything that comes to mind. Use as much space as you need to express any of these thoughts and feelings that have come to mind.

A few tips for this task:

  • Focus on labeling your emotions to the best of your ability (utilizing emotion word lists or charts can be useful)

  • See if you can determine where these emotions are originating from

  • Can you identify any needs that you would have to help “put down” or “let go” these emotions at the moment?

 

Afterword:

As you move forward, especially this next week, we hope that when you feel an urge or trigger, you can use a Brain Dump as a healthy way to release emotions and to slow down so you can listen to what your mind and body are telling you. Remember, your actual needs are worth fulfilling, and you deserve to treat yourself with kindness.

Week 4

Exploring Roots

Hello there! Welcome back for week 4! If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a big hug or pat on the back for showing up again. Last week, you learned one writing tool, called brain dumping, to release feelings and thoughts in a stream of consciousness on paper. We hope that you were able to start using this coping tool in the past week; however, if not, know that you can always pull it out of your back pocket in the future! This week, you will take another step towards helping yourself by examining the stories and messages that we tell ourselves. Not surprisingly, what we feed our minds, is what we believe! Negative messages we tell ourselves can hold us back and harm our well-being.

 

Interestingly, the formations of these messages and stories may have a root outside of you, like society's pressures, a comment a family member said, or a past trauma. Becoming aware of the root is an important step to healing because it gives closure by offering a reason for triggers and struggles. It also may empower you to move forward. What you might find during today's exercise is that many of these stories are not accurate or true. You’ll take a hard look at what stories you’re telling yourself, where these messages are coming from and how they compare to the truth. The purpose of this prompt is to become more aware of and dismember maladaptive thought processes. This may be challenging because you may really believe the negative messages you’re telling yourself, so think about finding the exception(s). Let’s look at an example so this is clearer.

HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Message/Story

I believe that my weight is the best feature about me

Root

When I was younger, my family always complimented me on how skinny I was, and I still get praised today from them and my friends.

Truth

I’m not defined by the number on a scale.

 

I think my best physical features are my eyes and smile. Unrelated to appearance, I want to be known for my funny and energetic personality because it makes me unique.

TIPS

 

~Here are a few starters to help you to begin to think about your story, statement or message:

  • If…then… ( EX: If I eat this, then I have to exercise it off)

  • I tell myself that… (EX: I tell myself that I’m not good enough)

  • I believe that…

  • I view myself as…(EX: I view myself as unattractive)

 

~Give yourself uninterrupted time to think about where your thoughts may be coming from. Who or What fed you these beliefs?
 

NOW YOUR TURN

 

Prompt: Create a table like the example above, but allow yourself the space to write more than one if needed. List out your beliefs, messages, and stories first. Then, going through one by one, write about the roots and the truth for each. 
 

DEBRIEF

 

Questions:

  • Did anything surprise you after looking at the results? 

  • What did you learn from introspecting and visually seeing how your thoughts compared to the truth?

 

We hope that this was an eye-opening and healing experience for you. We admire you for being courageous enough to pause and unravel your own thoughts. Recognize that you’re putting in the hard work and the benefits will naturally follow. We admire you for taking this time for yourself and once again, you’ll be leaving with another tool for your toolbox!

 

More to come next week :)

Week 5

Building Affirmations

Hi there! Wow, you are officially more than halfway through this 8-week club! Recognize that you have been dedicated to this club for five weeks and completed challenging work during that time. That is such an accomplishment! Not everyone has the courage and motivation to introspect as you have done in this club. Moving forward, we hope you continue to set aside this time for yourself, and we will continue cheering you on throughout this process. 

 

Last week, you were challenged to think deeply about your thought patterns, where they are coming from, and how helpful and accurate they are. Becoming aware of your thought patterns and processing why they occur is the most important step in changing maladaptive patterns because without this, it is difficult to move forward. You also acknowledged that some of the messages did not align with the truth and that your mind may have been feeding you inaccurate and unhelpful information. After putting in all that mental work, you are now rewarded with the opportunity to change your thought processes. 

 

You can start changing these stories and messages through affirmations. Affirmations are intentional, positive encouragers and reminders that you use mentally or verbally to overcome negative or self-sabotaging thoughts. The messages and stories you wrote about last week have been passively accepted and labeled as correct facts. Affirmations are used as a way to claim your power so you can shift your mindset from being negative and self-detrimental to positive, confident, self-compassionate, and self-appreciating. I am sure you are eager to write, so let us look at some examples using the “truth” section from last week’s hypothetical table. 

 

EXAMPLE


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Message/Story

I believe that my weight is the best feature about me

Truth

I’m not defined by the number on a scale.

 

I think my best physical features are my eyes and smile. Unrelated to appearance, I want to be known for my funny and energetic personality because it makes me unique.

Affirmations using the truth

  • I am so much more than my weight

  • My weight does not define me

  • My weight is just a number

  • I radiate good energy

  • My smile brightens any room

 

Additional examples:

  • I chose to treat my body with kindness

  • I deserve to fuel my body with food that makes me feel good

  • My body is strong

 

Some Tips: 

  • Your mind believes what you feed it, so writing affirmations in the present tense, as if you are living your ideal reality, will aid in creating a new belief system.

  • Add emotional charge and descriptive language. For instance, “I feel vibrant and nourished when I eat fruits and vegetables”.

  • Write it in the positive rather than negative. For example, instead of "I no longer weigh myself," you say, "I feel good in my body when I make healthy choices."

  • Write in the first person using "I".

  • Keep it short, so you can remember!

  • Shy away from aesthetic and focus on function with body affirmations.

  • Use words and phrases that resonate with you!


 

Now, it is your turn!

 

PROMPT: To begin, either look at the "truth" section of your table from last week or think of a thought you have struggled with lately. Now, think of a short statement or mantra that you can verbally or mentally say to yourself that is empowering, encouraging, and most importantly, reminds you of the truth. You can also think of affirmations as compliments and encouragers. Please write as many as you want. However, it is recommended that you start with a few that you can remember easily and use consistently.
 

DEBRIEF

 

Now that you have written your affirmations, we hope that you will repeat them mentally or verbally when needed this week and moving forward. Thank you for taking the time to write in your journal today! 

 

See you next week :)

Week 6

Identifying Triggers

Hello! We are glad to have you back for week 6! This week's prompt will allow you to look at your triggers and plan how to respond in non-self-destructive ways. 

 

Triggers are actions, situations, memories, physical sensations, or emotions that cause an emotional response. Becoming aware of triggers is necessary to change behavior  patterns because once you know what is causing you stress, you can adjust how you respond. You may know some of your triggers already, but others will take some time and self-awareness in future occurrences. Once you can identify your triggers, you can plan for the future when they pop up. An alternative plan can help you break free from detrimental patterns by learning how to cope in healthier ways. 

 

Before you begin, take a moment to prepare yourself mentally for journaling, as this can be a sensitive process, and emotions may arise. At any time, if you need a break, feel free to come back to this later.
 

PROMPT: If you currently are not aware of any triggers, think about when you felt emotional stress and how you responded. Then write it down.

 

EX) "The last time I felt emotionally stressed was when I looked in the mirror and did not like the way my body looked. I responded by telling myself that I am fat and ugly." 

 

Now, take time to think about what caused you to respond in that way.

 

EX) I did not like the way I looked in the mirror. Because I did not like what I saw, I reacted by talking to myself negatively.

 

You have just identified a trigger!

 

If this was difficult for you, do not fret! This takes introspection and can be complicated. It may take multiple attempts to identify a psychological trigger. Once you know your triggers, you can start changing how you react. The first step is to think about why your triggers occur or the underlying reason for your responses. To do this, it helps to ask, "What could have caused my reaction" or "What made me respond this way?". 

 

Here is an example:

What made me react this way? I do not feel confident in how my body looks.

 

Therefore, the reason is low self-confidence.
 

This is a pretty straightforward example; however, it may take some more digging to know what caused you to react in the way you did.

 

  • What made me react this way or What could have caused my reaction?


Once you know the reason for your triggers, you can plan to prevent self-detrimental reactions. It is beneficial to take responsibility for your triggers and take action to heal the trauma or underlying problems. You can do this by counteracting the reason for your trigger with an action that challenges and prevents that response in the future. 

 

  • Write about how you can respond differently to your triggers the next time they occur.


Moving forward, we hope you look back on these plans during moments that are triggering to you and follow through with them. Please know that this process of changing deeply held beliefs, emotions, and thoughts is difficult and will take time, so be kind to yourself and celebrate small successes! 

Until next week :)

Week 7

Reducing Comparisons

Hi all! Wow, it is week seven already! Last week, you looked at your triggers and learned that you have the power to react to them in healthier ways. So far, you have done a lot of introspection, and quite honestly, you have put in some hard work, so congratulations!

 

This week, let's talk about comparing ourselves to others. Maybe, this is a trigger for some of you. Comparing ourselves to others is natural; however, it can get us into trouble if we always focus on beating someone else instead of being our best selves or look at what someone else has that we do not. Self-comparison is not helpful and can make us unhappy, so we want to help you start thinking about YOU, aside from anyone else. Keep in mind that EVERYONE has flaws and beauty to them!

 

This week, you are challenged to do something that makes you feel good, recognize your unique qualities, talents, and skills, and think about how you want to develop as a person. Stepping back to focus on becoming the best version of yourself can help you become an individual who does not need to compare yourself to others. You can feel more confident in your strengths and accept your weaknesses because it is possible to acknowledge that you are unique and that everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

 

Please respond to the following prompts:

 

Journal prompt: 

 

  • What are some things you want to try that you have not had the chance to do? After you come up with ideas and try them, write down your findings!

 

  • What makes me unique?

 

  • What are my strengths? What are some areas I want to work on?

 

  • What do I want, regardless of others?

As I said before, everyone struggles in some areas of life and succeeds in others. Comparing yourself to someone else is not possible because each person is unique. As the saying goes, it is like "comparing apples to oranges". We hope that recognizing how unhelpful comparing yourself to others is, thinking about your strengths, and honoring your wants and needs will put you in a mindset for self-appreciation and growth.

Week 8

Final Reflections

Congratulations! You made it to the final week of this club. We are so proud of you for finishing and hope you gained something from it...and maybe even had a little fun along the way. During the first week, you were asked to write down goals you wanted to complete throughout these eight weeks of journaling. This week, you will be asked to look back and reflect on if you reached them and what you learned throughout this whole process.

Journal Prompt: Looking back, did you stick with the goals you had set for yourself, and did you reach them? Why/Why not? Think about where you were during week one and where you are now. How have you grown? What have you learned?

We want to thank you for joining EDCI’s journaling club. We are honored that you chose to spend your time with us and proud of you for using this process to focus on yourself. You will soon receive an evaluation survey to improve the next journaling club session! 

Thank you for joining us :)